Solar Technology Institute to be opened in Arizona

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In an effort to further its position in the research and development of photovoltaics, the Science Foundation Arizona will open the Solar Technology Institute (STI), which will be led by Richard Powell and Robert Annan. US$4 million will also be invested in five projects that are hoped will lead to commercial products and services for the solar industry.

The five solar investments include:

  • Concentrator Photovoltaics – Researchers at University of Arizona (UA)
          and Arizona State University (ASU) are collaborating on next
          generation low-cost solar reflectors that can be used in solar energy
          generating systems.
  • Nanostructured Films for Photovoltaics – Global Solar, General Plasma,
          Prism Solar, ASU and UA are teaming up to enhance the capabilities of
          thin-film solar panels through innovative technology. This will
          significantly reduce the cost of electricity from solar panels. Other
          partners include Advalue, All Optronics, Aerospace Corporation and
  • Photovoltaic Environmental Performance and Reliability – ASU and UA
          are working with Tucson Electric Power, and TUV-Rheinland, to expand
          the ASU Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory so it can conduct more rapid
          product certification and testing of solar products, and help identify
          and create better performing solar products. Other partners include
          Sandia National Laboratories, Reliasoft, Salt River Project, Arizona
          Public Service, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Spire Solar and
          Solan AG.
  •  Compressed Air Energy Storage – Southwest Solar Technologies, the U.S.
          Geological Survey, UA and ASU are developing compressed air solar
          storage technology for use when the sun is not shining. Other partners
          include Simmons, Nanovoltaix, and Eusthatia.
  • AZ Smart – Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, ASU and UA are
          partnering to create a system of smart grid management and to develop
          decision-making software to help select future power generation
          station locations, storage sites and power lines throughout Arizona.
          Other partners include Viasol, Bright Source, Creatasoft and Tucson
          Electric Power.

“With STI’s combined expertise, we can leverage our financial and brainpower capital toward the best solar initiatives and breakthroughs in new solar products and technologies,” said William C. Harris, president and CEO, Science Foundation Arizona. “These returns on investment can significantly impact Arizona’s emerging prominence in solar and position the state to benefit from upcoming federal competitions.”

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